Miami Masters 2024: Martín Landaluce, the imprint of 2006 in Miami | Tennis | Sports

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On January 8, just two and a half months ago, Martín Landaluce celebrated his coming of age. With an unmistakable physique, this big man from Madrid with a Nordic style had been offering good clues beyond the bell two years ago in New York, when he won the US Open as a junior, at the age of 16, and stood out in the eyes of the fans. “I started playing tournaments when I was 10 and doing fairly well. And here I am,” he simplified that afternoon, aware that immersion in the elite was going to present him with a succession of curves that little by little he is learning to trace. The logic of growth. News then, his name is ringing again now with a meritorious victory in Miami – 6-3, 1-6 and 7-5 over Jaume Munar, in 2h 31m – which makes him the first tennis player in 2006 to achieve a victory in a Masters 1000, and which at the same time guides him towards an attractive duel in the second round with the current jewel of American tennis, the puncher Ben Shelton.

“I’m in my last year of school and this week is exams. With the time difference, I have to do them at 7:30 or 8:30. They are an hour and a half. And then, in the afternoon, you have to try to make time for a class or whatever you can…”, explains in a statement collected by the ATP the Spanish tennis player, invited by the tournament organization and who these days carries the racket player and also with obligation, since tennis adds academic commitment these days. “Until now I have had two, Economics and English,” he details happily, having taken one more step in this process that offers so many demands and so many twists; like the match against Munar, translated into an up and down in which the Madrid native has gone through all the stadiums: “It has been a tough battle with myself. At times I have felt very nervous, out of my body, as if I were a ghost. But I believe in myself a lot. The visit to the bathroom has given me inner peace.”

That good mental foundation acquired since the age of 13 helps him, the age at which he began working with his psychologist. Also the support of yours. There are her parents, Elena and Alejandro, in the stands in Miami, and also his two brothers, Alejandra and Lucas, who have enjoyed university tennis in the United States. “They give me a lot of peace of mind. “It was because of them,” continues Landaluce, a regular at the Chamartín Tennis Club and the Madrid Federation. A boy with self-confidence who builds stone by stone, and who after a dazzling time on the junior circuit – 88% victories and number one – continues to discover the ins and outs of accessing the professional stage, always complex. So far he has played four games and it was in this last one that he found his reward. Before him he collided with the power of Tommy Paul in Gijón, the experience of Richard Gasquet in Madrid and the long journey of Taro Daniel in Umag.

“I talk to myself out loud, I say to myself: ‘I trust you, I know you’re going to do it, I know you’re brave, we’re going to win this game.’ And in the end, day after day telling yourself this, you generate a body language (body language) very, very strong. And he has paid off,” he reasons. Tintin, a giant of 1.91, blonde curls and eyebrows, and an offensive display that becomes more brilliant on a hard court. He says that he likes Alexander Zverev and, like the German, he makes a difference based on size, aggressiveness and acceleration. Represented by IMG – his career is managed by Albert Molina, Carlos Alcaraz’s agent – and with a scholarship from Nadal’s academy in Manacor, he moved there at the end of 2022 to exercise daily with his coach, the Galician Óscar Burrieza, and thus try to your tennis will open space in the top-100 of the ATP. Now he is close to breaking the barrier of the best 300, but above all it is necessary to evolve and to do so he takes note of references such as the Balearic player (37 years old) or one much closer, Alcaraz (20).

“They deal with internal battles very well, they don’t seem to be nervous. So little by little I try to be like that, to give a feeling of calm and confidence on the outside, and on the inside to make those nervous moments pass faster and faster. The only thing left to do is try to imitate them a little bit,” the young Landaluce tells ATP, who in recent times has been emitting hopeful signals in the territory of the ITF and the challengers. He now faces a bigger obstacle, the left-handed Shelton. A 21-year-old gun who is already seventeenth in the world, the best current exponent of North American tennis: “I will try to learn as much as I can from this match.”

BADOSA, IN FRONT OF SABALENKA

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In addition to Landaluce’s victory, the day also brought the progress of Roberto Bautista, who continues trying to find himself again after a difficult last few months due to physical problems. The man from Castellón, today 100th, won 6-3 and 7-6(4) against the American Emilio Nava and will face Sebastian Korda on Saturday.

On the other hand, Roberto Carballés also prospered, superior to Alexander Vukic: 7-6(2) and 6-3. The Granada native will be the rival, therefore, of Carlos Alcaraz, who landed in the tournament as the recent winner of Indian Wells. The fight between the two (not before 00:00, Movistar+) is part of the program for the following day.

Earlier this afternoon, Paula Badosa will meet her friend Aryna Sabalenka. The Catalan, 26 years old and 80th on the list, will try to prolong the good feelings obtained two days before against Simona Halep – the former number one reappeared after a year away from the circuit due to a doping episode, finally rectified – in a crash involving some sad circumstances, given that only three days ago the death of the Belarusian woman’s ex-partner, Konstantin Koltsov, was known. The former ice hockey player was 42 years old.

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